Hong Kong stocks ended lower in dwindling turnover yesterday after a late sell-down of property counters following their results season. Brokers said Thursday's worse-than-expected earnings of New World Development had provided many investors with an excuse to take profits on the sector after its recent rise. The surge in US bond yields over the past few days added to selling pressure and left many brokers pessimistic about the market's prospects next week. The Hang Seng Index closed 73.38 points down at 10,957.20, a loss of 0.66 per cent. At one stage it had been 39.85 points up. Turnover was moderate at $4.33 billion, up from the revised $4.08 billion for Thursday. Lennon Chan, director at Tai Fook Securities, said: 'There was a lot of selling pressure on property stocks now that there is no exciting news about property prices to come out.' New World suffered one of the biggest percentage losses among blue-chip stocks, falling 80 cents, or 2.17 per cent, to $36, after it said operating profit dropped by more than a third in the second half of last year. Negative sentiment surrounding interest rates was seen as a further reason for the fall. Patrick Chia, analyst at Cheerful Securities, said: 'The long-term trend in the bond yield is scaring investors.' The bond yield rose to 6.72 per cent on Thursday from 6.58 following comments by US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan that the US economy may not need further interest rate cuts. Brokers said the market's late fall had been exacerbated by derivative traders. Mr Chan said: 'Futures-related trading pushed the market down because with turnover at a low-level hedge funds can manipulate the market.' The April futures contract shed 70 points to close at 10,920, a 37.2-point discount to the cash market. The market would have dropped further if not for the strong performance of Hongkong Telecom, which rose 25 cents to $15.45. This came after news that its parent, Cable & Wireless, was in exploratory discussions for a merger with British Telecom. Among the 33 Hang Seng Index constituents, seven advanced, two closed unchanged, and 24 lost value. Property counters led the way down, with the Hang Seng property sub-index falling 1.5 per cent to 19,890.68. Sun Hung Kai Properties led the market in net loss, falling $1.75, or 2.46 per cent, to $69.25. Despite posting a respectable 10 per cent rise in net profits on Thursday, Cheung Kong suffered in the market, losing 50 cents to $54.50. Utilities bucked the trend, with the Hang Seng sub-index gaining 0.4 per cent to 10,774.76. Micro-motor maker Johnson Electric also performed well, climbing 45 cents to $15.70 on heavy institutional buying. Looking ahead, Boby Ho, dealing director at GK Goh Securities, said: 'With the long Easter holiday ahead, I don't see investors will do that much next week. The market could test 10,800 or lower.'